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Opinion of the Court.

redemption to Tucker, and died, leaving a widow and minor children, and a will appointing his widow, Tucker and a third person his executors, and devising all his real estate to them. The mortgages were foreclosed, pursuant to a decree pro confe880, upon a bill in equity, which stated the above facts, and in which Tucker was named as a defendant, as executor of Gage, and as guardian of his minor children, but not in his individual capacity, and was described in the same way in the subpoena. Cornell, claiming title by deed from Tucker's heirs, brought the present bill to redeem the land from the mortgages, and to set aside the proceedings for foreclosure; and therein alleged that Tucker owned the land at the time of all those proceedings, and until his death, and was not made a party to those proceedings, nor subject to the orders of the court therein, and that the decree of foreclosure was of no binding force or effect upon Tucker, or upon his heirs, or upon Cornell as their grantee.

The Circuit Court, upon general demurrer, dismissed this bill for want of equity, holding that in the former suit Tucker was sufficiently made a party to bind him by the decree in his individual, as well as in his representative capacity. 43 Fed. Rep. 105.

The Constitution of the United States is not mentioned in the bill of Cornell, or in the demurrer of the defendant, or in the decree or the opinion of the court. The case appears to have been treated throughout as depending upon a question of chancery practice, not of constitutional right. The first indication of anything like an intention on the part of the plaintiff to invoke the protection of the Constitution of the United States is in the suggestion, in the assignment of errors," that said finding deprived said complainant of his property without due process of law.”

The case is governed in every respect by recent decisions construing the same clause of the act of Congress.

In a case decided at this term, it was said by the Chief Justice, in delivering judgment: "A case may be said to involve the construction or application of the Constitution of the United States, when a title, right, privilege or immunity is

Dissenting Opinion : Brown, J.

claimed under that instrument; but a definite issue in respect of the possession of the right must be distinctly deducible from the record, before the judgment of the court below can be revised on the ground of error in the disposal of such a claim by its decision. And it is only when the constitutionality of a law of the United States is drawn in question, not incidentally, but necessarily and directly, that our jurisdiction can be invoked for that reason. An assignment of errors cannot be availed of to import questions into a cause which the record does not show were raised in the court below and rulings asked thereon, so as to give jurisdiction to this court under the fifth section of the act of March 3, 1891." Ansbro v. United States, 159 U. S. 695, 697, 698.

In support of that judgment, several cases were cited, two of them very like the case at bar. Carey v. Houston & Texas Railway, 150 U. S. 170, 181; In re Lennon, 150 U. S. 393, 401.

Appeal dismissed for want of jurisdiction.

MR. JUSTICE BRown dissenting.

Had Tucker not been made a party to the bill at all, and the court had attempted to dispose of his rights to the land in question, upon the sale under the foreclosure proceedings, there could be no doubt that it would be treated as an attempt to deprive him of his property without due process of law, and that such sale would have been invalid as against him, his heirs or vendees, under the Fourteenth Amendment.

This is in substance exactly what is claimed in this case. The bill averred broadly that he was not made a party at all, but the court, putting its own construction upon the foreclosure proceedings, which were made an exhibit to the original bill, decided that he was. Whether he was bound individually by the proceedings against him in his representative capacity – in other words, whether he individually was a party defendant to the bill — is beside the question. It is sufficient that he is averred not to have been, that a construction of the Constitution was necessarily involved, and that

Statement of the Case.

the position of the plaintiff in that connection is not a friro. lous one, or wholly destitute of foundation. Chicago Life Ins. Co. v. Needles, 113 U. S. 574.

That it requires us to put a construction upon the pleadings in the foreclosure suit does not militate against this position, as we have repeatedly held in analogous cases, where a contract is claimed to have been impaired by state legislation, that we would put our own construction upon such contract, and then inquire whether it had been impaired. Jefferson Bank v. Skelly, 1 Black, 436, 443; New Orleans Water Co. v. Louisiana Sugar Co., 125 U. S. 18, 38; Wilmington & Weldon Railroad v. Alsbrook, 146 U. S. 279, 293; Mobile & Ohio Rail road v. Tennessee, 153 U. S. 486, 492.

It seems to me this case should have been determined upon its merits, and I therefor dissent from the opinion of the court.



No. 174. Submitted March 24, 1896. - Decided Jay 18, 1896.

A person upon whose oath a criminal information for a llbel is üled, and

who is found by the jury, as part of their verdict acquitting the defendant, to be the prosecuting witness, and to have instituted the prosecution without probable cause and with malicious motives, and is thereapon adjudged by the court to pay the costs, and to be committed antil payment thereof, iu accordance with the General Statutes of Kansas of 1889, c. 82, § 326, and who does not appear to have been denied at the trial the opportunity of offering arguments and evidence upon the motives and the cause of the prosecution, is not deprived of liberty or property without due process of law, or denied the equal protection of the laws, contrary to the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

An information, in the name and behalf of the State of Kansas, by J. V. Beekman, the county attorney of Chatauqua County, against one F. Keifer, for a criminal libel upon Sandy


Statement of the Case.

Lowe, was filed September 28, 1889, in the district court of that county and State, and was afterwards, upon the defendant's motion for a change of venue, transferred to the district court of Elk county for trial.

Annexed to the information was the affidavit of Lowe, subscribed and sworn to before the clerk of the court, “ that the allegations and averments contained in the foregoing information are true.”

The General Statutes of Kansas of 1889 contain the following provisions :

By section 309 of chapter 31, regulating crimes and punishments, “In all indictments or prosecutions for libel, the jury, after having received the direction of the court, shall have the right to determine, at their discretion, the law and the fact."

By section 326 of chapter 82, establishing a code of criminal procedure, “Whenever it shall appear to the court or jury trying the case, that the prosecution has been instituted without probable cause and from malicious motives, the name of the prosecutor shall be ascertained and stated in the finding; and such prosecutor shall be adjudged to pay the costs, and may be committed to the county jail until the same are paid, or secured to be paid.”

At the trial of this information, the court, in charging the jury, after reading these statutes, and giving directions as to the law of libel, further instructed the jury as follows:

“You will observe that section 326 aforesaid provides that the jury may in any case find that the prosecution has been instituted without probable cause and from malicious motives, and when the jury do so find it is their duty to state the name of the prosecuting witness in their finding, and in such case the prosecuting witness may be by the court adjudged to pay the costs in the case, and he may be by the court committed to the jail until the same are paid or secured to be paid; and in this case, if you are of the opinion that the provision of said section ought to be enforced, you are at liberty to and ought to enforce the same."

“You will observe from section 309, above quoted, that you

Statement of the Case.

are, in your discretion, the judges of both the law and the fact of this case; and, this being so, we can only direct you as best we may to the law of the case."

The jury returned the following verdict: “We, the jury impanelled and sworn in the above entitled case, do upon our oaths find the defendant not guilty; and we do further find that this prosecution was instituted without probable cause and from malicious motives, and that the name of the prosecuting witness is S. Lowe.”

The court, “ being satisfied therewith, ordered that the same stand as and for the verdict of the jury;" and thereupon ordered that the defendant F. Keifer be discharged and go hence without day.”

Lowe then moved that so much of the verdict as found " that this prosecution was instituted without probable cause and from malicious motives" be set aside, and that he have a new trial in that respect, for the reasons “that the said S. Lowe, upon the trial already had, has not been beard and could not be heard, either in person or by counsel, in his own defence, touching the matter and things above mentioned as stated and contained in said verdict, being neither plaintiff or defendant in this prosecution;" and that the verdict was contrary to the law and the evidence; and that the instructions aforesaid were erroneous; and also moved in arrest of judgment, for the same reasons, and because “he has the right, by the law of the land, to be so heard in his own defence, and to a separate trial concerning his liability as prosecuting witness in this action, which separate trial he hereby demands of this court."

The court overruled both motions; and, upon a further hearing on the verdict, adjudged that “the prosecuting witness, S. Lowe, in the above entitled action, pay all costs of said action, taxed at $1053.40," and be committed to the county jail until he paid the costs or executed a sufficient bond to pay them within six months.

To all these instructions and rulings, and to the judgment aforesaid, Lowe excepted, and tendered a bill of exceptions, which was allowed by the court.

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